Today’s planned itinerary
was my last day to enjoy the Balloon Fiesta in Albuquerque, or see any other part of New Mexico.
When I woke up at the dot of 4am – without alarm, this time – part of me had the truly depressing thought: Well, back at home it would be time to wake up for work… Maybe I should adjust back to “my time.” No, no, no! Not work thoughts! Not yet!
Since I’d decided to try to see evening events at the Fiesta, rather than another cold morning lift-off, and my proposed alternative plans might involve driving distances, I put out the Do Not Disturb sign and went back to bed.
I can do that. It’s a vacation. Just as well, too. There was rain in the desert this morning… no balloons would be flying.
Eventually I did get up and Googled things to do and see in Santa Fe. Little did I know that meant driving straight into the rains. Also, little did I know that the Versa feels like it could blow off the road in a strong crosswind. Or any crosswind at all.
Live and learn.
My first stop, en route, was to Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks. Wind and rain notwithstanding, I did make it to the Tent Rocks, but didn’t seek out a hike while there. (Rain, possible creepy-crawlies; thanks but no thanks.)
I did get some pics though. Here’s one:
It rained pretty steadily, if not terribly hard, for a good bit of my trip. Note: the yellow flowers perked up and got bright, the very few cultivated places turned suddenly green, and purple flowers started to open up along the roadside. The desert knows how to make the most of a very little water.
The day cleared as I went on to Santa Fe, which has galleries on literally every corner (and usually a few more between the corners). There’s also the Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi. (A funeral was in progress, so I didn’t go in.)
I stopped for lunch at Mucho Gusto, a tucked-away eatery frequented by locals on their lunch breaks and really not playing up the Mexican angle for the tourists whatsoever. Good food, though… I had a chicken enchilada with New Mexico’s signature green chile sauce. Good and spicy!
Just a little more perusing of the Santa Fe area, and it was time to make my way back to Albuquerque.
Sad to say that although the day stayed nice, in the early afternoon the clouds gathered back in, and by the time I was due to return to the Fiesta for evening events, rain started falling. The Fiesta was called for weather again.
Oh well. I went to satisfy my craving for some more of Rudy’s BBQ brisket – seriously, that is good stuff, and I’m happy to report their sauce (or “Sause,” as they say) is available online. Then I went back to get myself together for tomorrow’s flight.
Wait, what? No, No, No. No. It can’t be ending. I need more time. More distances. More places.
Well, home is a place too. A good place. And as it turns out, it will take me the better part of a day to get there.
Look for the final recap tomorrow. Meanwhile, I better get back to my packing.